Chronicle | Francos 2022: the great reunion… without constraints

After a sober entry to the music of The mists while we could see on the giant screens the image of Karim’s wolf mask placed at the end of his guitar, Louis-Pierre Phaneuf – or Luis Clavis, if you prefer his name within Valaire – came to tell the monster crowd that we were here to cry and to sing . He even took up Karim’s trick of always asking spectators in the crowd to shout their names all at the same time. Nice. The tone was set.

Ariane Moffatt, accompanied by a string ensemble, performs during the 33rd edition of Les Francos de Montréal, Saturday June 11, 2022.

Photo: Courtesy – Équipe Spectra / Benoit Rousseau

Ariane Moffatt, all dressed in green, came to interpret Once upon a time in a fair tone, before continuing In the falling night with Gabrielle Shonk, when the brass made their presence and backfiring power felt for the first time in the evening.

With artists who have favored yellow, green and red, it’s as if we were entitled to our share of sunshine in this tribute to the deceased. Moreover, the registration Bye Bye Bye Karim right in the middle of the stage, on a yellow background, reminded us of great moments experienced with Karim on this same stage over the years.

Claude Bégin, a close friend who has produced three Karim Ouellet records, came to sing with his sister Élise There is no point running, a song that the deceased had never performed. Dynamic as desired, but less expected than foxalso performed by the duo.

The collaborations seemed to flow naturally in this often invigorating concert: the race (Gabrielle Shonk and Amélie Nault), Oh! Nope (Claudia Bouvette and Hubert Lenoir) and Unrealizable (Ariane Moffatt and Hubert Lenoir) have all hit the nail on the head. Incidentally, it was fascinating to see how perfectly Moffatt’s and Lenoir’s timbre of voices blended together.

Some individual performances gave goosebumps. Of the number, Feather (Ariane Moffatt) and Thirty (Fanny Bloom). The latter was visibly moved when the last notes of the song flew skyward.

But, as is often the case on these occasions, there is strength in unity. love, with Alaclair Ensemble, was explosive and led to crowd participation. It was even stronger during The monster, during a gigantic wave of arms. That’s when we heard the boys screaming: Karim! We are together!. Chills.

Sarahmée, Ariane Moffatt, Valaire, Hubert Lenoir, Alaclair Ensemble, Claude Bégin, Fanny Bloom, La Bronze and Claudia Bouvette have united their music for the time of the tribute show “Bye Bye Bye Karim: the vigil of friends”.

Photo: Courtesy – Spectra Team / Victor Diaz Lamich

But they were even bigger when we heard the voice of Karim himself on an unreleased song, recorded some time before his death. The song, titled Hereditaryspoke of the family, an obvious link with the song of Alaclair Ensemble which brought together all the one-night artists on the stage, including Sarahmée, Karim’s sister.

Make some noise for Karim she launched, visibly taken aback by the round of applause which redoubled upon her arrival, as if to support her in this terrible ordeal, several months after the departure of her brother.

Mom, look how they loved Karim! she shouted at her mother. Then, to the crowd, she said: Keep listening to his music and turn up the sound f… loud!

After Thirtypoignant, everyone came back for Karim and the wolf. Despite the pain, only smiles were seen on stage. That’s when I remembered the concert 25 year, 25 artistsfor the FrancoFolies, in 2013.

It was during this evening that, led by Daniel Boucher, Ariane Moffatt, Dumas, Pierre Lapointe, Mara Tremblay, Vincent Vallières, Yann Perreau and Karim Ouellet – who was the new kid in the group of stars – dived and surfed several minutes on the crowd. Karim’s smile when he came back on stage after the crowd swim was magical. Like much of Sunday’s tribute…

Damien Robitaille

Franco-Ontarian singer-songwriter Damien Robitaille.

Photo: Courtesy – Équipe Spectra / Frédérique Ménard-Aubin

The most popular French-speaking artist during the pandemic was not Céline Dion, but Damien Robitaille, whose – almost – daily clips posted online in cyberspace had a planetary resonance, nothing less.

The latter was performing at Studio TD (formerly L’Astral) early Sunday evening, and after an opening of about twenty minutes of his hectic and unifying hits (Meters from my being, Password, We were born naked, Omnipresent, EMERGENCY EXIT), the pianist put things into perspective.

There are people here who have no idea what I’m doing, but have seen my videos.

In effect. If he remained in his universe – except Here Comes The Sunperformed on the guitar – for a while presenting songs written during the pandemic like the wacky Welcome to Longueuilworthy of the Trois Accords, we suspected that the friend Damien was going to give the spectators what they wanted.

For a good hour, he chained songs, hits, classics and Anglo-Saxon or French-speaking hymns in a frenetic atmosphere: Queen, Toto, Led Zeppelin, Robert Charlebois, Elton John, Getty Boulet, the BBs, Gloria Gaynor , Technotronic, everything went.

During the pandemic, Damien Robitaille wanted bring joy with its hundreds of clips. This is what the Franco-Ontarian who now resides in Longueuil did on Sunday. He was a living jukebox and Studio TD was the best dance floor in town.

When I left to head towards the Place des Festivals for the tribute to Karim Ouellet, Damien was beginning Andy, Rita Mitsouko, within his bottomless repertoire. If it is, at the time you read these lines, he may still be playing…

His first Place des Arts

Do you know the Ma première Place des Arts series? Surprisingly, Arianne Moffatt was on Saturday night for her first headlining appearance in the complex during the Francos de Montréal. Indeed: small outdoor stages, large stages on Sainte-Catherine Street or on Place des Festivals, Spectrum, Métropolis… She had done everything for more than 20 years, except the PdA during the Francos.

For the occasion, she presented an increased version of her tour incarnate. I had seen the very first concert linked to this album last year at the FestiVoix in Trois-Rivières. The raw, stripped down version, shall we say. Ariane, her keyboards and her guitar and her drum, on an outdoor stage, with a bright sun, feet in the grass. On Saturday, we were entitled to the indoor version in the Théâtre Maisonneuve. The rich and sumptuous version, shall we say.

Cozy atmosphere, reddish decor, beautiful grand piano, keyboards, guitar, drums and the Mommies on the Run string ensemble led by Mélanie Bélair, also increased to ten instrumentalists. Beauty was at the rendezvous during this often sumptuous encounter between ivory and cords that enveloped Standing, Beauty – fittingly – and Distance. Moffatt’s voice was impeccable for Hope which benefited from light pizzicatos of the set.

The Iceberg’s Daughter, Hotel Love and miami – dedicated to Karim Ouellet – were the titles where pop/classical music integration was the most successful, when Ariane abandoned the piano for her keyboards. Stirring, but not as much as the guitar/drum versions of Réverbère and I want everything on recall.

At the finish line, in full light or in half-light, bare or richly arranged, the songs ofincarnate did not miss their target or our heart.

Koriass reigns over the asphalt

Quebec rapper Koriass waves to the crowd.

Photo: Courtesy – Spectra Team / Victor Diaz Lamich

A Place des festivals filled as far as the eye could see with as many asphalt children who came to cheer him on, a crowd of guests, new songs from the record Makeshift Shelter (for End of the World) and now memorable titles that have made it famous: Koriass delivered a formidable show of force on Friday evening.

It must be said that he was well surrounded for the occasion. His old accomplice DJ Manifest on the decks, guitar, bass, drums, a trio of brass and another of singers. Rarely has rap offered such rich instrumentation. And there were all the friends and pals: Mike Clay (From Clay and Friends), Safia Nolin (who shared Marie-Joby Karim Ouellet, with Koriass), Imposs, Jay Scott, Bobby, Souldia… It was a party for everyone on stage and on rue Jeanne-Mance.

The addition of the strings was masterful for just do itperfectly suitable for Blacklightsand collaborations for keep your job, Special effects, matusalem and Epitaph have hit the bull’s eye. In form and in voice, the rapper whose flow and quality of pronunciation are always exemplary, was visibly moved to be there… like most of us, by the way.

The last stretch of the evening with The following day, End of the world and asphalt child dynamited, as if it were possible, an overexcited crowd who did not want the evening to end. Nevertheless when Five to seven finished the concert and the evening, we just felt like seeing tomorrow and starting over.

save our soul

Luc De Larochellière during the 33rd edition of the Francos de Montréal, Saturday June 12, 2022.

Photo: Courtesy – Spectra Team / Victor Diaz Lamich

Luc De Larochellière was unable to save his gallbladder last week during an emergency operation. He nevertheless saved his soul and ours on Friday during his outdoor concert where he performed his 1990 album in full and in sequence, save my soul.

Due to the longer time slot – an hour and a half – he even offered the first five songs on the disc Bitter America in opening (Bitter America, The road is long, The silence, Chinatown Blues, The elections). Add to that the key songs from his second album (save my soul, my generation, CashCity, so fragile, six feet on the ground) and the performance looked like a concert of great successes.

It was, basically, almost the same concert as the one offered at the Outremont theater in November 2021 during Coup de cœur francophone – l’album Bitter America being played in full that evening, too). But that was during health restrictions. Friday, the exercise had something life-saving. Luc, all his fellow musicians and choristers of the time, in front of thousands of people – three generations, at least – who sang the songs whose lyrics are still darned topical. Popular success if there is one.

The best comment understood : After a few songs, on Friday, on an outdoor stage, Félix Dyotte thanked the attentive and loving public who, indeed, savored the words of the music of his songs in an almost religious silence. And that’s when he added: To my family and loved ones, I would like to tell you that you are the ones who speak the most during my songs. The comment might have been – in part – a joke, but there was something heartening about hearing that.

The crush so far : In the first part of the Ariane Moffatt concert – and during the duet Never too late with her during her performance – Étienne Coppée charmed with his mind-blowing songs, the original use of his melotron and a form of sympathetic awkwardness that was reminiscent of those of the McGarrigle tribe.

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